MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Into The Storm’

into-the-storm

Film: Into The Storm
Starring: Matt Walsh, Richard Armitage
Directed by: Steven Quale

Into The Storm may be the biggest waste of 50 million dollars to hit theaters in years. From top to bottom, left to right, everything about this Steve Quale directed film is a disaster, and not in the way audiences have hoped.

During the span of a single day, the fictional town of Silverton is ravaged and essentially flattened by a series of tornadoes. Into The Storm attempts to put viewers in the middle of this madness by following several groups of people as they attempt to survive the events of the day, including a team of storm chasers lead by Matt Walsh, a distracted father attempting to reconnect with his sons following the death of his wife, and a pair of rednecks with a dream of becoming YouTube sensations. Each group has their own set of cameras, which allows the film to be told using a POV/found footage approach, but Quale isn’t afraid to abandon that style altogether whenever he deems it necessary for a scene to include a more cinematic shot.

On paper (or the internet), the above paragraph sets up what could very well be the most exciting weather-related film since Twister. In execution, however, the film simply tries to do too much within the confines of its 89-minute runtime and never offers viewers a single moment of substance or depth. Instead, the characters we follow might as well be cardboard cutouts, moving scene to scene with surface level motivations that never manage to pull you completely into the action on screen. Even in the most intense moments, like when a twister made of fire appears in the second act, the film has no idea how to make the characters react to what is happening while still moving things forward.

Speaking of the twisters, which in all honesty is the main reason most will pay to see this film, the effects used to make Mother Nature appear pissed off in this film are largely laughable. Funnels descend from the heavens with the digital clarity and design of a standard definition avalanche, while buildings collapse and turn into pixels of debris with all the realism of a video game. That said, there are a number of brief moments amidst the chaos where Quale and his team manage to find angles and situations that do translate well to the big screen. One scene in particular, in which one character must climb an open car door to help another character avoid being sucked into a twister, looks like Cirque De Soleil in a storm. Unfortunately, these moments are few and very far between, with a lot of predictable mediocrity filling in the gaps.

The last several years have been littered with VOD and direct-to-DVD disaster films that often feature fictional creatures or storms so over the top there is no way they could ever actually take place. Into The Storm is no different than these titles, except for the fact Warner Bros. deemed it worthy of a theatrical release. You still have the same B-level celebrities reciting C-level dialogue while film school quality special effects play out in the background, only this time it’s all being projected on a screen 5-10 times larger than your television.

If you consciously decide to skip any theatrical offering this year, make sure it’s Into The Storm. I understand the allure of a large scale disaster movie can be tempting, but believe me when I say this film offers nothing that you could not find any night of the week on SyFy. There is nothing memorable or all that original about the screenplay, and aside from a few brief moments of clarity the action is so muddied with shaky cam it’s almost impossible to get a feel for the true terror of the moment. Even Matt Walsh, who has watched his celebrity grow in leaps and bounds thanks to the hit series Veep, manages to disappoint.

In short, Into The Storm blows. Hard.

GRADE: D-

Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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